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I won't be sticking with Apple Music and here’s why

Michael Sawh


Apple Music 7

After a few weeks of using Apple Music, I really thought about ditching Spotify. But now I've changed my mind and I'm sure I won't be the only one

I signed up for Apple's Music three-month trial the day it launched and having made sure to disable that automatic renewal option, I was eager to see what it was made of.

The reason I wanted to live with Apple’s first music streaming service was two-fold. I needed to run the rule over it for work, but I also just love music and I really wanted to see what Apple had come up with. After spending a few weeks with Apple's Spotify rival I really believed I would turn that temporary subscription into a permanent one.

Even with all the bugs and the fundamentally broken iCloud support, it did something really well and that was music discovery. It's kind of a big reason why music streaming services are brilliant things. Finding something to listen to that you'd never stumble across and spend money on in a HMV for the fear it could be terrible and you’re stuck with something you never want to listen to ever again. As I mentioned in my review, I found more new music in those few weeks using Apple Music than I had using Spotify the past year.

Related: What's the best music streaming service?

Apple Music 5

Spotify has been my music streaming service of choice for a few years now. I started as a Spotify Free subscriber and staunchly refused for a long time to pay for the Premium option. But it didn't last long. The song limit restrictions, lack of offline mobile support and those ads meant I gave in. I don't regret the decision to start paying up and while Spotify is not perfect, it's the best option out there by a country mile.

But back to Apple Music. It was the music discovery that kept me tapping that Music icon on my iPhone 5. I wasn’t heading to the For You or New sections or even trying to Connect with artists. It was all about Beats 1. It was the aspect of Apple Music I was initially most skeptical about, but ended up using the most. This isn't a commercial radio station that plays the same music on loop every hour. I felt like I was hearing new music all the time. I have basically not touched any of the other sections in the app since the first couple of weeks of using it. The good news for me and bad news for Apple is that Beats 1 is free after my trial runs out and that means I will not have to part with a penny for the service's standout feature.

That brings me to the survey that was released earlier this week from music research company MusicWatch. Speaking to 5,000 consumers in the US, apparently 48% of people using Apple Music have stopped using it already. Apple has since refuted that claim saying that 79% of people are still using the service. I'm the first to be skeptical of most surveys and how the data can be interpreted, but that's a sizeable sample that can't be ignored. It's still early days for Apple Music with many still in that three-month trial period, but based on my experiences, I'm not surprised that some might be losing interest.

Related: Apple Music vs Spotify

Apple Music 9

I thought about why I’ve used Apple Music less in recent weeks and it's pretty obvious. Beats 1 aside, it doesn't do anything drastically better than its competitors. The other reason is Spotify's response to Apple Music's arrival. I'm not talking about the introduction of video content here, which if you had a chance to look at is pretty underwhelming.

It’s the new Discover Weekly playlists, which is clearly a reaction to Apple Music's impressive curated playlists and discovery features. These playlists are based on previous listening habits and from the first week it popped up in the Your Music section, it has been on the money, picking out a collection of tracks I really want to listen to. When most people probably listen to two maybe three new playlists a week, that's already one comprehensively covered with a mix of music you already love and stuff you'll find yourself saving for offline play.

There was probably many including myself who believed that Spotify could be a casualty of Apple’s entry into the music streaming market, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It's now Apple that has to right the wrongs of its far from perfect launch. Even when I contemplated cancelling Spotify for the first time after using Tidal, I resisted at the last minute, and I’m glad that I did.

Spotify has become like a dependable friend. It'll have those moments when it'll irritate you, but generally it just doesn't let you down. I'm not ready to let go.

Sorry Apple Music, I’m just not that into you anymore.

Dead Words

August 20, 2015, 12:09 pm

I'm waiting for Microsoft to seriously step up the game with Groove Music as the go-to music player for everyone, be it local, cloud, streamed, or anything under the sun.
Groove is great but incomplete and that's where I'm watching. I was disappointed with Apple Music as it didn't match my music tendencies. It's too pop focused.


August 20, 2015, 3:11 pm

I wouldn't put too much stock in Microsoft getting their music act together. They always come 90% of the way and screw up the remaining 10. Its sad because when combined with the OneDrive music storage it could be the best thing out there but as it is Microsoft I am sure they are working hard to figure out a clever way to screw the whole thing up =(

Darren Eastland

August 20, 2015, 3:58 pm

In general I agree it doesn't do anything better than Spotify which I've been using for years now. For me the killer choice is down to family options...for my family of 4 Spotify wants to charge me £24.99 a month where as Apple Music costs £14.99 and lets 6 people access Apple Music. So simple economics is making me choose.

Richard Martin

August 20, 2015, 6:13 pm

I've switched from Play Music to Apple Music and the latter is vastly better - not just discovery, but the overall look and slickness of the app. I was sick of Google's insistence on orange and white for everything.

I've no qualms about paying for Apple Music come October.


August 20, 2015, 6:32 pm

I tried it, but turned if off because it was missing many albums/artists I was looking for...an iTunes.

It has become a bloated, slow and incomprehensible POS made of a bunch of cr*p added on top of each other.

Apple needs to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch.

Dead Words

August 20, 2015, 8:38 pm

I don't know, sir, Satya Nadella is different. He's working towards a new, more efficient, better Microsoft.
He understands what's at stake and I'll be surprised if he lets all his work go to waste.


August 20, 2015, 8:59 pm

I never understood why they just did not offer a subscription iTunes account as iTunes is vastly superior. Maybe I am missing the point..

I will stick with Spotify it does the job its easy to use and has a far more intuitive and easy to navigate interface.

Prem Desai

August 21, 2015, 6:05 am

Completely agree with you. iTunes is a total POS. Now at version 12, it still can't get basic music tagging right. Over the years, it has become bloated, unstable and unresponsive.


August 21, 2015, 6:21 am

Spotify is also Mature. The mere fact it supports multiple platforms and phones means Apple is already limiting itself. I know android will get it eventually and I guess limiting the users base is good way to iron out the bugs, but I don't See apple releasing clients for Linux as an example.


August 21, 2015, 9:02 am

Its not mentioned here but I have switched as well to amazon music which is free with a prime membership, yes the selection isn't great (in a similarly the selection for Prime video also isn't great) but its plenty good enough for me to find tracks for training/relaxing especially as im not so fussed about new tracks. Also the fact that you now get the free music streaming AND free video streaming AND either free next day delivery or now you can get £1 credit per order to spend on electronic media (i.e new albums or new movie releases) for £5.99 or £78 means it definitely a strong option


August 21, 2015, 11:54 pm

You spent the first half of this schitty article talking about how great apple discovers new music for you, then you conclude by saying that you aren't switching over because apple doesn't do anything drastically different. Look dipschitt, learn how to review something. What do you want apple to do, play the song better? It's a fuking service dummy. Apple isn't playing the actual song. You realize this, right? Given that you're a writer, I'm going to assume you have a lower level of education.

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